It’s getting time for some fresh, no nonsense salads, just like this cucumber balsamic caprese salad. I could eat this stuff all day. Springtime means freshness, and this is a hiked up version of traditional tomato, mozzarella, and basil.
First off, the balsamic I used was a good, fairly thick and tasty condiment to start out with, but I reduced it on the stove for about 10 minutes. Reducing the balsamic that you use raises the intensity of the flavor by tons. Depending on your balsamic, you can reduce it on the stove on low heat for 10 to 20 minutes to make it thick and flavorful.
Mary Jo bought a basil plant at the local Publix grocery and kept it sitting outside for a couple weeks. Finally, I got a good use for some of the leaves. Maybe we’ll have to make a margherita pizza with the basil soon too!
The cucumber I used was a hothouse or English cucumber because they were on sale, two for the price of one. A standard cucumber that was peeled and sliced would give the salad a little more juiciness and perhaps a bit more flavor. The cucumber enhances the flavors of the tomato and basil just like it should be there all the time. You’ll just eat this up.
I like using fresh mozzarella for these salads. No cutting and chopping. Just tear off the amount you want from the ball.
We had the cucumber balsamic caprese salad with some top sirloin steaks and oven browned red potatoes seasoned with Herbes de Provence. Very tasty.
Next time you’re in the mood for a caprese salad, add a little cucumber into the mix, and do a balsamic reduction. I’m sure you’ll like it.
- ¾ cup grape tomatoes, halved, (or sliced medium tomatoes)
- ½ cucumber, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 7 or 8 large basil leaves, chopped
- 2 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn into bite sized pieces
- Reduced balsamic vinegar, about 1 tbsp
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1 to 2 tbsp
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Reduce balsamic vinegar on the stovetop on low heat, stirring occasionally, (I measured out ½ cup and reduced it 50%), 10 to 20 minutes. Let cool, refrigerate any leftovers.
- Assemble salad in a shallow bowl or on a plate as desired, add salt and pepper, then drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and then the reduced balsamic vinegar.
- Serve cold.